Cold turkey.

 

Yeah, pretty much. I bend, but I don’t break.

“Well hello again, blogosphere….and loyal followers (if I have any left). It’s really nice to be here again. I’ve missed you terribly, and almost went bat-shit crazy several times during my absence.” 

That is what happens when you are forced to quit seeing your therapist (aka..this blog) cold turkey because life just gets in the fucking way. Right along with chronic insomnia,  hair falling out, and clothes becoming too big, because eating ranks even lower on the totem pole than updating your online journal. At least that’s how it happens for me. And I’m here to tell you, it’s really not an option for me from here on out, as I enjoy this gig. THAT I know for sure!

So. What’s been going on that dragged me away? Let me make a list…

1. I got a job. To be fair, I work from home, on the computer and set my own hours (which technically are from 6pm til my eyes close). Therefore, it really shouldn’t interfere with my main gigs of mommy, wife, writer (which, ironically got me the job in the first place), sister-friend, volunteer, etc….BUT I actually LOVE what I do, and I’m an over-achiever. What can I say? I suppose I get in my own way, and despite my best efforts to go without it, I do need to sleep sometimes. Whatever.

2.  We…as in The Girls and I…were invited to a couple of events (also because of this blog) and those took up a little time, but were well worth the investment. The first was on August 4th… the launch party for Universal Studios Home Entertainment‘s  “Twinkle Toes: The Movie” on DVDThose of you familiar with Skechers’ line of shoes known as Twinkle Toes probably know all about this, especially if you have daughters. The event was tons of fun!! The Girls bedazzled tote bags, enjoyed coloring pages at an art station, and watched outstanding dance performances by the students of the Academy of Dance Westlake Village. Oh, and we were gifted with a Universal Studios Home Entertainment Kids Summer DVD Package that included the Blu-ray Combo Packs for An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars, Hop and Big MiracleAll great movies, btw, and The Man actually mixed the post-sound for Big Miracle, so it was very cool to get that one 🙂 Anyway, thanks so much to Jacqueline Cavanagh at Click Communications for inviting us, and Nancy Walters and Michelle Slavich for making sure we had a great time. You ladies ROCK!!

Our second outing was to attend the opening night performance of Mary Poppins at the Ahmanson Theatre on August 10th. Honestly, when I got the invite from Jason Martin at Center Theatre Group, I almost died!! Seriously. Not only am I a big ole theatre geek, but to be given the opportunity to take The Girls, who have seen the movie 87,000 times,  to this…of all plays…as their very first trip to the theatre was, let’s just say …. supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!! And if just attending wasn’t enough, our complimentary seats were in the FRONT FREAKING ROW!! How does that happen? Are we that cool? Maybe it was because of my use of “that word” in this post. I don’t know. To say that we were wowed from the moment we arrived is a massive understatement. I’ve never seen my daughters so engaged and excited by something. At one point, they were on their feet, ‘oooohhing and aahhhing’, while witnessing Mary Poppins fly overhead from the stage to the top of the house, and it truly warmed my heart to see the sparkle in their eyes as they enjoyed the outstanding performance.  A kick-ass, special ‘Mommy n Me’ outing. I can’t thank Jason, who made it possible, enough. I don’t know him, but he’s a hero in my book now 🙂 Here’s a photo of us in the lobby just before the show. Can you feel the excitement???!!!

In the lobby, before the show!!!

Last but not least, the other outing I attended…without The Girls….was the 6th Annual Community Gala and Fundraiser for The Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center on August 16th. My dear sister-friend Kim Poirier invited me as her ‘plus one’, and we had a glorious time. It’s not often that I get invited to events for such fantastic causes, so I jumped at the chance to attend. There were vendors of all kinds, yummy food, and spectacular musical performances by students from the Center as well as well known celebrities. If you don’t know about this center and what it does for kids….do some research and donate to them if you can. They are doing great things with the youth in this city, who will no doubt go on to be some of the leaders of tomorrow. Here is a fun pic of Kim and I with “waxy jazz hands” after we were treated to chocolate parafin hand dips from one of the vendors. As you can see, we are total cheese balls….

“Waxy Jazz Hands”…LOVE IT!!!

And here is our post-event, red carpet photo. She got to actually walk the carpet and be snapped by the paparazzi before the event, as she is a big deal here in the world of Hollywood! I’m just lucky she thinks I’m cool enough to bring along 🙂

We were wearing the same color scheme…navy and red, but didn’t plan it…lol. Great minds think alike, right?

3. Dang…I didn’t ever think I would make it to number 3!! THE KIDS WENT BACK TO SCHOOL on August 20th. Two in elementary, and one in….gulp.…7th grade. Holy crap, I have a middle-schooler! Where did the time go? But I digress. Most mamas have MORE time once their kids go back to school, right? But the preparation that goes into getting them prepared to go back is an energy draining, time consuming, pain in the effing ass. Not to mention is expensive. The school supplies times 3 left me with a buckshot bank account and thus, a stress level that needs Xanax. Daily. But I am happy to report that everyone has done marvelously in their first few weeks back, loves their teachers, and is adjusting to homework again. Oh, and The Oldest Girl landed in Advanced English (wonder who she takes after…lol:-) and her science teacher has HOT PINK HAIR!! How great is that?

4. Now here is where it gets tricky up in here…and sad….then happy again. My niece, Meaghan, got married last weekend. You may remember me talking about her in this post. She is more like a sister than my niece, as I was only 14 when she was born, and we have spent A LOT of time together over the years. She even came to LA to live with The Man, The Girls and me for a summer while she shot a movie. Good times, I tell ya. Anyway, she asked me to be a bridesmaid back in May and I was elated! Ordered my dress right away, and was anticipated it to be smoothe sailing. God laughs when I make plans, remember? As I have mentioned several times before on this here blog, times have been, um…challenging for us, financially speaking, over the past few years. It’s been an endless roller coaster. So, as the wedding date approached, it became clear I would need to make a devastating call, and decline the honor to serve as a bridesmaid, because I couldn’t afford a plane ticket, nor the payment for my dress. That was one of the hardest calls I’ve ever had to make. I was in tears for days, depressed beyond belief, because the trip would have meant I would be able to see my whole family, whom I haven’t seen in 2 full years. Knowing how much I wanted to go, my very precious Oldest Girl put her brain into action and conspired with my sweet MIL, who surprised me with a plane ticket and the funds to pay off my dress, just 1 month before the wedding date. Obviously, I broke down in tears and finally knew what those families on Extreme Home Makeover must feel. To me, it was that special.…like winning the lottery. I will NEVER be able to thank her enough for that gift. EVER. Needless to say, it was a beautiful occasion that went off without a hitch. A traditional Southern plantation wedding, complete with shrimp and tomato grits, and sweet tea served in Mason jars with striped straws. Every detail was perfect. Oh, and the first University of Alabama Football game of the season was happening that day too, so there was a big screen tv set up at the reception, because in the South….football is a religion….and nothing gets in the way of it. Plus, both Bride and Groom are alums of UA….they even had ‘Yeah, Alabama” played instead of the standard Wedding March, as they floated back down the aisle as husband and wife. I, of course, was singing right along and yelled out a quite audible “Roll Tide” as I was the last to walk down after them, and my exit happened to coincide with the lyrics of our Fight Song…lol. The icing on the cake was that our Bama boys smeared Michigan State into the field, 41-14. Roll Tide Roll, baby!!!! And of course here are a few pictures…..

The stunning bride and her very proud aunt!

Our wedding “Mookie” faces. It’s a family thing…lol.

Might be my fave. Megz had a bug under her dress, so I had to lend some extermination skills. RFLMAO…..only me.

And finally…..THE ENTIRE WEDDING PARTY being, well…ourselves. How great is this picture????

BEST. GROUP. PHOTO. EVER.

So that’s what has been happening with me, and why I had to take a break. There’s actually more, but I’m going to save that for tomorrow’s post, because I’m sure y’all are like…”OMG. This is soooo long”. But I do promise to write again tomorrow, because I need to talk about what just happened on September 5th….that made September 6th much more bearable than it ever would have been.

Be sure and come back. I’m going to bed, as it’s 1:30 where I live, and my eyes are trying to take a nap 🙂

xo,

N

Give this Southern girl some flowers…

…and THIS is what happens…

 

One guest said it was worthy of display in the lobby of The Four Seasons. I almost fainted.

It all started because we needed a centerpiece for the main table at the shower I co-hosted for my bestie yesterday. My go-to florist (and good friend) Kate, of Kate Baker Florals was out-of-town, and therefore, unable to take care of my bloomin’ needs, like she usually does. So, I was forced to take matters into my own hands. Why not go to another florist, you say? First of all, I’m very loyal when I find the best. That’s the truth. So I absolutely will continue to turn to her for my future events. After all, SHE’S the professional! However, I may or may not have waited ’til the last-minute and backed myself into a corner on this one, and I was desperate. But hey, that’s where my improvisation training comes in handy, right? “Flying by the seat of my pants” is practically an art form in my book 🙂

Since I had been to the Flower Mart in downtown LA once before, I knew where I needed to go. I also knew I had to get there early. As in, SIX IN THE MORNING. On Sunday. What I didn’t anticipate was that the ACTUAL Los Angeles Flower Mart being closed on Sundays. Nope, didn’t see that one coming. Never fear though, as there were some vendors open. I just had to walk a lot to get to them. I mean, from where I parked. Lol. That left me wandering around with people who either lived on those streets, or worked in the bloom business. I’ll be honest. Downtown LA can be, um…unsettling at that hour folks…especially when you are alone, have that “where the eff do I go now?” look on your face, and stick out like a sore thumb wearing yoga pants, and sporting a ponytail! Let’s just say I was very aware of my surroundings, and leave it at that.

Now, what does one who possesses ZERO formal knowledge about flowers do at the Flower Mart? Shop by color, of course. I designed the Evite, and planned to match that color scheme: teal, dark purple, dark blue and lime green. In addition, I wanted to use that mossy, hanging stuff the set designers used in the Twilight: Breaking Dawn wedding scene. Oh, and twisty brown twigs. Very Midsummer Night’s Dream. Guess you could say I had a vision. Oh, and the mossy, hanging stuff? I now know it is called Amaranthus, just in case you were wondering. And it comes in green and red. So this was a learning experience on several levels.

It took me all of 40 minutes to choose the perfect flowers, and hike back to the car. And bulk flowers are rather heavy, people. Didn’t know that either. My arms are still sore..lol. Nonetheless, I made it. By the time I got home and set up my makeshift floral studio on the patio (i.e. a wooden stool and our glass patio table) The Man and The Girls were just getting out of bed, and wandered out to see what I was working on. The Man said “OMG. Who did that?” To which I replied (after looking behind me) “What do you mean? Do you see a staff here helping? I DID IT!” To be fair, neither he nor I knew I had it in me, as this was a maiden voyage into the land of arranging petals, stems and leaves for me. We shared a laugh, he told me how proud he was of me, and my creativity, and he had never seen me attempt anything that hadn’t turned out exactly as I planned. Well, except that lemon icebox pie I attempted and failed at. Six. Different. Times. But I don’t bake. So, whatever.

After channeling my inner florist, and all was said and done, I designed a large arrangement for the main table (pictured above), and a smaller replica for the gift table, pictured below:

Gift table

Gift table

The celebration was spectacular! Just what the mommy-to-be wanted. A big thanks goes out to my co-hostess, Heidi. She was feeling a little under the weather, but you never would have known, as she was the picture of elegance and hostess-with-the mostess. Hung in there like a trooper! I see sainthood in her future. 🙂 While I took care of the flowers, games and prizes, Heidi took care of the favors, and arranged the venue/food with her friend Bibo Mohamed, a supervisor at Coupa Cafe in Beverly Hills. A big shout out goes to him, and the owner, Camelia Coupal! The set-up was perfect, the food delicious, and the service was impeccable, thanks to the fabulous staff. If you live in the LA area, enjoy Venezuelan cuisine, and have the opportunity to visit this wonderful restaurant, you will definitely not be disappointed! And request Sarah. She’s was our server, and is a complete doll. 🙂

All in all, the day was a glorious success, from very early start to finish. I found a new creative outlet, and learned a few things about flowers. The gorgeous mama was showered with lots of love and positive energy, which is so important when you feel like there is an alien inside you lying on your bladder, kicking your ribs, and making you crave strange foods that give you heartburn immediately after eating them. She can rest easy knowing she has all the things she needs now. And The Man and I have a new restaurant to visit on our next date night. Now, if that baby will just hurry up and get here so we can get a formal introduction and shower him with hugs and kisses, life will be perfect. 🙂

xo,

N

The table set-up before everyone arrived.

The table set-up before everyone arrived.

 

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